It was a less than perfect year. We had to endure everything from drug scandals to players attacking fans. Here in the Cayman Islands, sports was blown away in a single day by Hurricane Ivan.
As the year closes, however, who really cares about all that stuff? In the end, it turned out that 2004 was a pretty good year.
Athens was supposed to be the ultimate failure and disaster. But somehow the stadium toilets worked and al Qaida never showed up so it all worked out. It was a wonderful and memorable Games, the best I’ve seen in my lifetime. The athletes were nothing less than heroes in a land that once grew them like wheat. For me, a fan who carries a life-long love for the Olympics, ancient Greece and athletes performing at the best, Athens 2004 was a divine intersection of joy, a gift from the gods.
Here at home, sports lost so much to a storm. Seasons were cancelled, athletes watched their fitness melt away in the steamy nights of a powerless country. But when we caught our breath in the weeks and months after the hurricane, we noticed something special. Sports in Cayman not only survived Ivan, sports in Cayman helped beat back the blues he left behind.
For example, the Sports Ministry and a few West Bayers created a district football league and suddenly there was something to think about other than gassing up the generator and wrestling with the claims adjuster. Players say the games have helped West Bay pull together and appreciate the beauty of their community.
Sports is never better than when it becomes and excuse for people to hold hands.